Organisations are systems: lots of bits connected to other bits.
They are complex: so many bits you can’t see them all.
You can’t draw it out on a single page.
If one bit doesn’t behave at its optimum, the whole system slows down.
Just a tiny bit because of one small bit of Behavioural Friction.
Complex Systems have the potential to generate a lot of Behavioural Friction.
So it is no wonder that over time the performance and operation of organisations slows down, may be even comes to a halt.
Because the source of Behavioural Frictions are often of ‘unknown’ origin, work-arounds are put into place: new behaviours intended to correct undesirable outcomes.
These outcomes are symptoms of Behavioural Friction and include things like:
Retraining on the same issues.
Buying additional software.
Increasing the level of administration and bureaucracy.
Falling employee engagement and retention rates.
Declining profit margins, revenue or market share.
These are just a few responses to Behavioural Friciton. There are many more.
Each introduces more complexity and so more potential for Behavioural Friction.
When this downward spiral is experienced that organisations usually have a major ‘shake up’.
Consultants are often employed, the Organisation is restructured, downsized, and some systems removed and replaced with new ones.
This seems to work for a period of time but eventually the Behavioural Friction returns necessitating that the process is repeated.
If things get really bad the organisation often finds itself being taken over and broken up.
To break this cycle and improve organisational performance the Behavioural Friction causing of the symptoms needs to be identified and addressed.
Some Behavioural Oil is needed!
The formula for which is as follows:
- Identify and prioritise the organisational symptoms to be addressed
- Decide your preferred method approach to identify and address Behavioural Frictions.
- Decide on your preferred method of continuous minimization of Behavioural Friction
Behavioural Friction occurs in all aspects of an Organisation but in order to identify them, it is useful to consider them as occurring in five distinct sources
By finding the cause of Behavioural Friction within these sources and addressing it, the issues that hold organisations back, and cause them to under perform, can be reduced or removed.
Useful Behavioural Friction!
Behavioural Friction isn’t just about making the right things easier.
It is also about making the wrong things harder.
You want to make it harder for people to make mistakes, have accidents or breach security.
So when we know what we want to make harder, for example by doing a risk assessment, we can use Behavioural Friction to reduce the risk.